The goal of spiritual development is to get closer to one’s true self. Some people say it’s to become one with God. Some say it is to become detached from the world. As I get older, I see this happening to me.
As a baby, I was a blank slate. I had no frame of reference for the physical world and no language to communicate my thoughts. In the first ten or so years of life I accumulated language and a world view. Many of these accretions encased my true self in protective armor. As I grew I became less my true self and more a creation of the culture I lived in. I got ideas about perfection, success, and beauty that came from outside me, and I adopted them, though some were uncomfortable or anathema to my true self.
Moving into old age, I am able to let go of many of these adopted qualities. As I care less about pleasing others, stealing the limelight, or making a million I get closer to the pure, god-born person I was once. I still am self-centered, but I am self-centered as a newborn is, caring more for closeness to others, food, and sleep than for status or wealth.
Maybe the apparent changes I underwent were only various costumes I tried on during certain seasons of my life. Now that I’m shedding those disguises, I am more like my true self. Not until I shed the last costume will I return to my source and be who I always was.